links for 2010-05-14

  • It’s easy to make a case for the increasing importance of Latino issues in understanding U.S. politics. But are college freshmen getting any context for considering these and other developments?

    The odds are against it, according to a survey of introductory political science textbooks. The study, published in the journal PS, did page by page analysis of the 29 introductory textbooks in use at American colleges today. Latinos’ “overall contributions to the political development of the United States are largely ignored,” says the study, by Jessica Lavariega Monforti and Adam McGlynn, both assistant professors of political science at the University of Texas-Pan American.

  • The courts and the U.S. Congress continue to insist that racially gerrymandered voting districts are necessary to elect minority candidates, but election returns tell another story. On Saturday, Irving, Texas held its first city council elections under a new system imposed by a federal court last year. Hispanic activists had sued the city, which is more than 40% Latino, arguing that Irving's at-large system was discriminatory because no Hispanic had ever won a council seat. As part of the settlement, Irving created six single-member voting districts—including one that was drawn specifically to ensure the election of an Hispanic—and two at-large districts. So what happened? The newly created "Hispanic district" was won by Mike Gallaway, a black candidate who easily beat Trini Gonzalez, an Hispanic. & Roy Santoscoy, another Hispanic, defeated a white incumbent for one of the open at-large seats that was supposedly out of reach to Hispanics due to Irving's allegedly racist voting system.
  • HB 2281 bans schools from teaching classes that are designed for students of a particular ethnic group, promote resentment or advocate ethnic solidarity over treating pupils as individuals. The bill also bans classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.
    School districts that don't comply with the new law could have as much as 10% of their state funds withheld each month. Districts have the right to appeal the mandate, which goes into effect Dec. 31.
  • "'The first thing people think of when it comes to Asian emcees is that it’s almost like an oxymoron,' said Tsai. 'Hip hop was created out of poverty, and this whole idea that Asian Americans are the model minorities leads to the belief that they can’t possibly have struggles to talk about.'"
  • "Over the last two decades, an entire industry has sprung up around the notion of packaging the products of Third World craft collectives to sell to the First World. Let’s examine the ways in which First World advertising both misrepresents and romanticizes the work and lives of these collectives to encourage First World consumers to buy their products."
  • 1) Drug legalization does not change the nature of policing.
    2) Drug legalization movements avoid larger problems faced by people of color.
    3) The potential impact of drug legalization on poor communities of color needs to be openly debated.
  • "Samantha Harris's mother was one of the 'Stolen Generations', removed from her parents simply because she was black. Now, Ms Harris seems destined to become the first Aboriginal supermodel, after treading the catwalk for 18 designers at Australian Fashion Week and featuring on the cover of next month's Australian Vogue.
    "The 19-year-old is only the second Aboriginal model to be a Vogue covergirl, following in the footsteps of Elaine George in 1993. But she is considered the first with international appeal."
  • "Analysts attribute the racial shift to suburbs in many cases to substantial shares of minorities leaving cities, such as blacks from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Whites, too, are driving the trend by returning or staying put in larger cities."
  • "Social networks represent a huge opportunity for marketers trying to reach Latinas — but many in this growing audience believe they are being poorly served by such nets.

    Thirty-eight percent of Hispanic women in the U.S. say these networks lack content created especially for their unique interests, according to a new study by research firm Sophia Mind."